Friday, October 2, 2009

Oil development in Alaska

Alaska governer Sean Parnell writes in the Wall Street Journal about why we should expand oil and gas exploration on Alaska's Outer Continental Shelf. His argument is very solid, and overall I think the article accomplishes what it was meant to: gather support from the American people, and hopefully persuade the federal government to include oil expansion in Alaska as part of the administration's energy plan.

Parnell's argument is very clear, and his reasoning is logical. He argues, first, that oil and gas exploration and production will create job opportunities for Americans, lower energy costs, and provide an overall boost to our economy. He also argues that royalties from production would go to our government instead of foreign governments, which would reduce federal deficit. Both of these arguments are solid and logical, and together form the foundation of his main argument. He also argues that it would improve U.S. national security by reducing dependency on foreign oil. This argument seems weak to me because it tries to characterize an economic problem as a security problem as well. It's a loose connection, and in my opinion, it doesn't add anything to his main argument. It would be better to focus on the issue entirely from an economic standpoint.

Next, he addresses the environmental implications, and states that oil exploration would happen in a way that's considerate and protective of the environment, and he strengthens this claim by referring to oil exploration of Alaska in the past. Finally, he talks about the government's support of offshore oil development in foreign countries, and argues that if the government supports foreign oil exploration, that there's no reason not to support it within our own country. This is, in my opinion, the strongest argument that Parnell makes because it leaves little room to oppose his position without first opposing the government's stance on foreign oil.

In conclusion, I'd say that the article is well written. The tie to national security is weak, but everything else is solid and persuasive. He doesn't rely too heavily on statistics, and he uses strong, logical reasoning to drive his point. Parnell makes it clear why we should support oil development in Alaska.

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